Calling all HGL fans! This weekly column is your one stop shop to get in the know about everything going on around the league. From injury updates to news off the field, your football knowledge will surely grow week after week. Don’t believe me? Put your knowledge to the test with friends and that certain someone. You’ll surely be able to hold your own and then some in the conversation.
1. Tight end’s Son has Open-heart Surgery Days After Being Born
The Carolina Panthers are off this week, but this bye week will be anything but restful for tight end Greg Olsen.
Olsen and his wife Kara welcomed twins via C-section on Tuesday. Before the birth, the Olsens were given news that they would have a healthy baby girl that that named Talbot, and a baby boy named T.J who would be battling for his life from day one. Pre-natal tests showed that their baby boy has a rare condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Before the age of 3, T.J will have to undergo 3 open-heart surgeries, with the most evasive of surgeries just days after he was born. The first surgery took place on Thursday, and Olsen took to his twitter account to let fans know that his son made it out with flying colors.
The Olsens went public with a video about their son’s diagnosis last Sunday during ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown. They hope to shed light on the rare condition and let other families know that they are not alone.
“It’s unfortunate,” Olsen told Carolina Panthers writer Bryan Strickland. “But you can’t lose hope.”
Since their announcement, the Olsen family has received a great amount of support.
“It’s been amazing to hear great success stories, people telling us they have a child that’s six years old that had the three surgeries that our son will have, and he’s doing great in school. ”We love to hear those stories, because that’s what we’re really focused on going forward.
The survival rate for HLHS patients is in the 75-percent range. With the news of their son’s condition, Olsen’s foundation, Receptions for Research, created a new initiative. The HEARTest Yard, has been launched to bring awareness to HLHS and raise money for the pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit at Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. The tight end says he already has events planned to help raise money and awareness for a cause that is so close to his heart.
“Obviously this is going to be a long road and a scary one for us, but to hear from other people who have been down that path we’re about to go down and hear their trials and tribulations is nice. ”We’re going to fight, and we’re going to do everything we can to let other people know that they’re not alone.”
2. Prominent Player says He Played with Concussion
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson told the Detroit Free Press that he returned to a game earlier this season after suffering a concussion. Johnson says he suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Minnesota Vikings Chad Greenway.
“Yeah, yeah, he knocked me good,” Johnson said to the Free Press. “You could tell. It was obvious.”
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Johnson was evaluated after the hit and cleared the concussion test.
“Our evaluation was that he was not concussed,” Schwartz told the Free Press. ” He was cleared to go back in the game, and he was on a protocol after that, and he was cleared then. We’re very strong in our evaluation, and we are, as an organization, I think we have some credibility when it comes to concussions.”
NFL concussion protocol states that a player who is suspected of having a concussion must be tested by medical personnel. If a player is diagnosed with a concussion, he must be removed from the sideline and cannot return to the game. In most cases, a player will usually miss the following game. A player must pass a series of tests before getting the green light to play.
Megatron explained even more about concussions in an interview with WXYT-FM.
“It’s a part of football,” Johnson said. “You get concussed, you gotta keep on playing.”
Johnson is spot on about concussions being a part of football. On Sunday, quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Robert Griffin III both took hits that took them out of the game. Cassel has already been ruled out while RGIII seems to be on pace to start in Week 6.
By the end of the week, Johnson started to play a little damage control with his comments and explained that what he actually meant, is that as a receiver, he cannot be scared to go over the middle.
“Not that if you’re concussed that you’ve got to keep playing,” Johnson said following practice. “We know we can’t do that if we don’t pass the test. I was just saying that you can’t be afraid to keep on going over the middle and doing what we’ve been doing.”
3. Vick Family Gets a Dog
Michael Vick and his family added a new addition that is causing some controversy. The quarterback confirmed on Thursday to the Associated Press that he and his family have a dog. Vick, who served 18 months in prison on dogfighting charges, was banned from owning a dog until he completed his probation.
“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet,” Vick said in a statement. “As a father, it is
important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family.”
Vick was released from prison in 2009, and has actively worked to change his ways. He has worked with The Humane Society of the United States and spoken out against animal cruelty. He has also made appearances at schools and talked with students about the dangers of being involved in dogfighting. Vick says that he will continue to speak out against animal cruelty.
“This is an opportunity to break the cycle,” Vick said. “To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”
Some animal-rights activists and fans think the pro-bowler should never be allowed to have a dog for the rest of his life. Others believe that Vick has served his time and has worked feverishly to learn from his mistakes. Regardless of where you stand, Vick hopes that his actions will speak louder than words.
“I’m not a psychopath. I’m not crazy. I’m a human being,” Vick said. “What happened in my past and what I did in the culture I grew up in doesn’t shape and mold me as the person I am now.”
4. Steelers New Record in Thursday Night’s Loss
The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, but it wasn’t all bad news for Steeler nation. Ben Roethlisberger became the Pittsburgh Steelers’ career passing leader, dethroning Steeler fav Terry Bradshaw. Roethlisberger also accomplished the feat in fewer games than Bradshaw.
Entering the showdown against the Titans, Big Ben needed 286 yards to tie Bradshaw’s record of 27,989 passing yards. A 17-yard completion to tight end Heath Miller in the third quarter gave the qb 291 passing yards in the game.
Roethlisberger’s stellar performance was not enough to edge out the Titans. Kicker Shaun Suisham missed a 54-yard field goal that would have put the Steelers up by three. Titans kicker Rob Bironas sealed the deal with a 40-yard victory to put the Titans on top.
When asked about his new record after the game, Roethlisberger was anything but impressed with his accomplishment.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” he said to reporters. “A loss is a loss.”
5. Injury Tracker
Below is a list of players to watch before kickoff on Sunday. Find out about players on your favorite team or check out this list before hitting save on your fantasy lineup. For a complete list of injured players, click here. Data provided by rotowire.com.
CHICAGO BEARS DENVER BRONCOS DETROIT LIONS
GREEN BAY PACKERS HOUSTON TEXANS JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
MINNESOTA VIKINGS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
WR Lance Moore
NEW YORK GIANTS OAKLAND RAIDERS WASHINGTON REDSKINS